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HTML5 Graphing & Data Visualization Cookbook Paperback – November 23, 2012
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About the Author
Ben Fhala discovered his passion for data visualization six years ago while he was working at Parsons in New York, in their data visualization department PIIM. He is the owner of the online video training school, 02geek.com, and an Adobe ACP. He enjoys spending most of his time learning and teaching, and has a love for visual programming and visualization in general.
Ben has had the honor of developing applications for US Congress members, Prime Ministers, and Presidents around the world. He has built many interactive experiences for companies such as Target, AT&T, Crayola, Marriott, Neutrogena, and Nokia. He has technically directed many award-winning projects and has been a part of teams that have won three Agency of the Year awards.
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Top Customer Reviews
It's true that since 2001 we have SVG to perform similar tasks, but the SVG and canvas goal is different: SVG creates vector elements, while canvas generates bitmap images.
This book entitled HTML5 Graphing and Data Visualization Cookbook teaches you how to use the canvas element to create several graphics, but that is not all, also to create animations and interactivities. The goal is ambitious, so let's review the book chapter by chapter to see if it's successful:
Chapter 1 - Drawing Shapes in Canvas: To know the canvas element nothing better than start by creating graphics. In this chapter you will learn how to draw several real flags that include details like rectangles, triangles, crosses, stars, etc.
Chapter 2 - Advanced Drawing in Canvas: At first you will continue creating flags but this time with a greater difficulty: you will use arcs, curves and will integrate existent images in a canvas. Also you'll begin to work with text and you'll see how to manipulate your graphics pixels to create interesting effects.
Chapter 3 - Creating Cartesian-based Graphs: Here the fun begins. Draw flags is fine but, what if you create something more useful? Here you'll begin to create charts to visualize data. You'll see bar, scatter, line charts and some more.
Chapter 4 - Let's Curve Things Up: You'll continue creating charts but this time leaving the straight lines: you'll see bubble, pie, radar and tree charts. I've loved chapters 3 and 4, are the backbone of this book.
Chapter 5 - Getting Out of the Box: You'll create new charts like the pyramid chart, but also you'll add interactivity to some chart created earlier. For example, you'll see how to create a bar chart that shows how many times you pressed the mouse button in a second.
Chapter 6 - Bringing Static Things to Life: It's important know how to create charts, but also structure well your scripts to use different data source and create animations. This is what you'll learn in this chapter, one of the most important.
Chapter 7 - Depending on the Open Source Sphere: The open source community dedicated to data Visualization is very rich, and here you'll see how to use some of existing libraries like jqPlot, flotJS, RaphaelJS, etc.
Chapter 8 - Playing with Google Charts: I think the title is quite descriptive. In this chapter you'll use the Google visualization API and Google Spreadsheet to display and customize various charts.
Chapter 9 - Using Google Maps: A chapter on Google Maps couldn't be missing on a book on data visualization. You'll learn how to create a map and display data in various ways. Furthermore you'll add markers and events to the map.
Chapter 10 - Maps in Action: You'll check the enormous possibilities when using maps to visualize data, since you'll create a map that, when clicking on some place, will show the latest tweets about a particular subject that have been published in this area.
In short, if you're an experienced developer and enjoy creating complex animated and interactive charts and experiment with different ways of data visualization, I wouldn't pass up this book.
I was given a printed copy of the book and access to the online version by the publisher, PACKT Publishing, presumably because they had seen my book Interactive Visualization: Insight through Inquiry (2013, MIT Press) and I find this book to be a good practical complement to my own. Fhala's style is casual, clear and informative, and he relies on progressively introducing new concepts using code snippets that are fully explained in the text that follows.
The first section of the book introduces drawing vector graphics using the HTML5 Canvas element. He does this by guiding the reader through the creation of a number of small programs that create the national flags of a number of counties, starting off with the simple rising sun of Japan to Canada's more complex maple leaf.
There are sections on more advanced drawing topics, such a drawing Bezier curves, shadows and glows, and a good section on manipulating the screen on the pixel level for very basic image processing techniques.
I like how he introduces simple charting, by building a series of popular Cartesian graphs directly using the Canvas without using any outside resources at first. He begins by defining the data structures required to represent the data to be graphed and progressively moves from bar charts, through scatter graphs to pie charts. The simple trigonometry needed is well explained, even the recursive algorithms needed to draw sophisticated tree maps are clearly described.
The last section introduces the idea of using external web-based resources, such as, such as Google's Visualization toolkit, Google Maps, and InfoVis instead of drawing all the elements by hand and includes a section on implementing Google Maps as well.
All in all, Ben Fhala's HTML Graphing and Data Visualization Cookbook does a good job of introducing the uninitiated into the word of interactive visualization. It's a shame he didn't extend his readers into the world of D3-based visualizations, but this is great first entry for those new to the field.
University of Virginia
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What sets this book apart from other on similar topics is the "How to do it" & "How it works"...Read more